"It would give of the four schools $500,000 each," Hinesley said during the school board's regular work session. "No personnel are allowed to be purchased with it, but it's training and hardware and enhancement of instruction of programs."
He said the system will be collaborating with Bartow County Public Schools for the grant, since they won't be competing for funds on the same level due to the disproportionate sizes of the systems.
"The way the grant application is designed, some of the consideration may be spreading the wealth across the state in terms of congressional districts," Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse said. "Our biggest challenge with it ... is we've done pretty well on testing in the last few years and that may not be in our favor."
In other school news, Hinesley and the school board addressed some concerns with their proposal to change the high school schedule from a 4-by-4 block to a seven-period day.
He explained the board technically will not vote on the schedule, previously meeting with teachers and a scheduling task force to discuss the schedule options, but instead will vote later in the spring on the amount of credit hours required to graduate. The state requires 23 credit hours and Hinesley said he again will meet with schools after the break to gather their input on the amount of credit hours. Cartersville High School currently requires 28 hours to graduate.
Hinesley said teachers expressed to him they want the 4-by-4 block, but will support a seven-day period schedule as the best alternative.
"As we've gotten emails and the couple of calls we've gotten, there's been a great deal of misinformation," Clouse said.
Hinesley said students have said they have heard, under the new schedule, they won't be able to have off-campus privileges their senior year -- a decision Hinesley said is up to the school. Other examples of misinformation Hinesley cited were rumors that marching band and drivers education would be no longer offered, which he said wasn't the case.
"Driver's [education] of course will be driven by who signs up for it, but we're not going to take it away," Hinesley said.
Students expressed other concerns in the form of Facebook posts, publication of letters to the editor in The Daily Tribune News and quotes in online publications. These include less time for instruction during the day and worry over whether teachers will lose jobs.
Hinesley and Clouse explained there have been discussions on transition to a seven-period schedule for about three years, but there has been more emphasis since the spring. They have said the new schedule will better suit the educational needs of students, for example, requiring seniors to have to take more difficult courses as many will pursue post-secondary education, and will better meet the standards set by the state.
However, finances do remain a factor in moving the transition forward at this point in time.
"Our financial prediction in two years is that we will no longer have any type of savings of any significance that we can rely on," Hinesley said. "If you wait -- and it was proposed that we study it for year -- we'll get hit between the eyes and have to lay people off, where as if we ease into it and over a two-year period, at the end of this year and the end of next year, you can downsize through attrition and not affect anybody personally, and that's the goal."
The board will hold their regular business session Monday at 6 p.m. in the central office boardroom.